KOCHI: “I used to feel guilty that I am alive because someone else died for me. But later I realised, I survived not just for me, but for another person too.” The words of Preeti Unnale, who is celebrating her 17th year of rebirth, says it all.
As a person who survived dilated cardiomyopathy by undergoing heart transplantation surgery in 2001, Preeti gave a righteous message while addressing the Nava Hrudhayam programme held here on Sunday to celebrate the 50th year of First Heart Transplantation.
Organised by the Society for Heart Failure Transplantation, the programme witnessed a rare get-together of 20 heart transplant receivers from across the state.
Preeti also highlighted the importance of organ donation. “It will be hard for the loved ones of a person to take a quick decision. But, if we can do that (organ donation), we are giving another person a new life. In my case, the heart of a 14-year-old boy is beating inside me. I am living two lives,” she said.
Mathew Achadan, who got a new life following the state’s first airlifted heart transplant, said the programme was the first-of-its-kind as it brought heart transplant surgeons and survivors together under one roof. “This will surely show the world we are living a normal life. We feel the event will motivate more people to sign the organ donation consent letter,” he said.
More than 500 delegates representing various social institutions took an organ donation oath at the function. A panel discussion was held on ‘Cadaveric Organ Transplantation - The relevance, social, legal and medical implications and the current situation in Kerala’, moderated by journalist M G Radhakrishnan. The recommendations of the discussion will be compiled and forwarded to the departments of Health and Social Justice.